REVIEW: Japan Booth Offers Tourist-Friendly but Authentic Dishes at Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval 2023

Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval has begun. As part of the festival, food booths are spread across the park, offering cuisine from around the world. A Japan booth is located in Sting Alley.

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Menu for Japan at Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval 2023

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Food:

  • πŸ†• Ube Ice Cream Sesame Bubble Waffle Cone – $9.99
  • πŸ†• Nikuman Bun Sampler – $9.99
  • πŸ†• Okonomiyaki – $8.49

Beverages:

  • πŸ†• Japanese Highball – $16
  • πŸ†• Hakutsuru Chika – $14
  • πŸ†• Hakutsuru Draft – $13
  • πŸ†• Joto One Cup – $14
  • πŸ†• Choya Sparkling Umeshu – $14
  • πŸ†• Kirin Ichiban – $14
  • πŸ†• Sapporo Silver – $14
  • πŸ†• Calpico Mini Bottles – $3.50

Photos of Menu Items for Japan at Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval 2023

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*NEW* Ube Ice Cream Sesame Bubble Waffle Cone – $9.99

ube soft serve ice cream served in a toasted black sesame bubble waffle with cookie crumbs, pocky, and a Meiji panda cookie

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What a great treat! All the flavors are distinct β€” ube, Oreo, and sesame β€” but work so well together.

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The panda cookies and Pocky are nice additions.

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This was one of our most anticipated items, and it did not disappoint.Β 

*NEW* Nikuman Bun Sampler – $9.99

trio of soft fluffy steamed buns filled with char sui pork, teriyaki chicken, and a sweet coconut matcha custard

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The flight comes with three Nikuman buns.

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The white matcha bun tasted like Japan to those of us who have been lucky enough to visit. It featured subtle flavors with a little sweetness, but it was chalky. Nothing exciting, but a very good introduction to Japanese flavors.

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The black bun is Teriyaki chicken with a sweet and tangy sauce. The meat is good and tender, but there’s not enough.

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The pork (the red bun) is smoky and doesn’t have a lot of filling.

Overall, these buns are the only thing at this booth we would skip. They were a disappointment, especially in comparison to the delicious Lil’ Boo Spicy Pumpkin Pun from last year’s Halloween Horror Nights.

*NEW* Okonomiyaki – $8.49

savory cabbage and bacon pancake topped with Kewpie mayonnaise, hoisin, cilantro, sesame, and katsuobushi

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This is a delicious, great reproduction of a classic Japanese dish.Β The pancake is thick and fluffy.Β There’s fresh cabbage, a great hoisin flavor, and the katsuobushi adds just a slight salty fish taste.Β 

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Another great introduction to Japanese flavors.

*NEW* Japanese Highball – $16

Nikka Days Japanese Whisky and Perrier sparkling mineral water

How can you go wrong with Japanese whisky and Perrier? This feels like Japan.Β The good whiskey flavor was brightened up by the sparkling water.Β It works well for an afternoon cocktail in the sun.

*NEW* Joto One Cup (ABV 15%) – $14

combining tradition and innovation in one delicious sake, light and fresh, notes of juicy green grape and watermelon

*NEW* Hakutsuru Chika (ABV 13.5%) – $14

light bodied and slightly dry with light aromas of honey and sugarcane

*NEW* Hakutsuru Draft (ABV 14%) – $13

fruity yet dry in a classic Japanese style. Aromas of sweet rice, nuts, pear, green melon, coconut, and light cream

*NEW* Choya Sparkling Umeshu (ABV 5.5%) – $14

tart Japanese Ume with back notes of citrus and white peach

*NEW* Kirin Ichiban (ABV 5%) – $14

light bodied with aromas of sweet malt and crisp flavors of citrus

*NEW* Sapporo Silver (ABV 5%) – $14

refreshing lager with crisp and refined flavor and a clean finish

*NEW* Calpico Mini Bottles – $3.50

sweet and tangy with a smooth texture

Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval runs from February 4 through April 16.

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